« PreviousContinue »
arity of the designation, and rejoice in the admission; because it is this very circumstance that renders the text so decisive a proof of the doctrine which we maintain. This third reason, therefore, is a mere assumption of the very point which should have been proved : an assumption of the Unitarian dogma that Jesus Christ is not the supreme God.
66 4th. Because, in all such ascriptions of praise, the words 66 6 for ever,' or the equivalent expressions, if introduced at all, 6 are placed at the end of the sentence, as in this example." This, truly, is making the most of it. Was there any likelihood of the words " for ever being placed any where else than at the end of the sentence, on the supposition of our rendering being the right one? If not, this can be no ground of preference to the other; and it is mere triffing to mention it.
« 5th. Because the position of these words at the end of 6 the sentence, naturally, though not necessarily, draws the "participle (suroyntos) Blessed, which they qualify, to the same “ quarter.”—This must be settled by an appeal to facts. Amongst the doxologies in the Old Testament Scriptures, in which the words " for ever," or equivalent phrases, occur, I do not find any instance of this drawing of the participle to the end of the sentence. See, in the LXX. 1 Chron. xvi. 36: Psal. xli. 13: lxxii. 19: cvi. 48. And when no parallel cases can be produced, in the ordinary practice of the language, we are not satisfied with Mr. Yates's admission that this “ drawing" is not necessary; we cannot concede to him that it is even natural. Mr. Yates may fancy it to be so. But no phrase can with any propriety be denominated natural, unless it corresponds with the customary usage of the language in which it occurs. The idioms of one language, must not be made the standard of what is natural or unnatural in another.
66 6th. Because, in Psalm 1xviii. 19. (Kugios o OEOS suroyntos) 46 the participle is placed in the latter part of the sentence * by the Septuagint translators, contrary to the assertion 66 of Dr. Whitby in his commentary.”-Dr. Whitby's assertion is: “ The phrase occurs twenty times in the Old Testa6 ment, but in every place suroyntos goes before, and the 6 article is annexed to the word @sos.”—To this assertion Mr. Yates, like others, has discovered one exception. We have found him, above, in his second reason, resting his conclusion on the general form of the doxologies in scripture, as “al« most uniformly wanting the substantive verb.” I have referred to three exceptions to this :-and it does not seem very consistent, as has been already hinted, for Mr. Yates to rest there on the general practice, in opposition to three exceptions; and then here to question the validity of our argument from a practice, to the uniformity of which he can produce no exception but one.—But I go farther. I think it is more than doubtful, whether, after all, this exception will stand. In the LXX. the 18th and 19th verses of Psalm. lxviii. stand thus: 18. 'Avaßas sis infos, fixuah WTEUOUS αιχμαλωσίαν» έλαβες δοματα εν ανθρωπω, και γας απειθουντες του Karaohnwoci. 19. Kugios , eos xudoyntos, šuOYNTOS Kugios juega rad njegav, K. 5.20m Without attempting a translation of these words, which it would not be very easy to give, I request the attention of the English reader to the verses as they stand in his own Bible:-“18. Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast “ led captivity captive, thou hast received gifts for men, yea 66 for the rebellious also, that THE LORD God might dwell 6 among them. 19. Blessed be the Lord who daily loadeth “ us with his benefits, &c.”—In the original Hebrew, the words onbx it, corresponding to Kugros ó ©os in the beginning of ver. 19. in the LXX. are the concluding words of verse 18. and are rendered in the established version accordingly, “ that THE LORD God might dwell among them.” In the LXX. these words have been transferred, at the expense of sense and syntax, from the end of the 18th to the beginning of the 19th verse; and this has given rise to the insulated and anomalous phrase KIPIOS ‘O OEOS ETNOrhros, in the beginning of the latter. There seems good reason, therefore, for thinking, that this is only an instance (and it does not stand alone) of confusion and anomaly in the Septuagint version, and that the proper doxology begins with the second ευλογητος in verse 19.-Ευλογητος ο Κυριος %. 5. 2; which brings this case into agreement with the established practice of the language, and, in so far as the phraseology of the Scriptures is concerned, renders it invariable.
6 7th. Because, although the participle comes first in s6 every other instance, a sufficient reason for its being so “placed, may, in almost all these cases, be assigned, viz. şs that the name of God is connected by the relative pro6 noun (os) with one or more clauses, the interposition of “ which would remove the participle to too great a dis66 tance from its noun, if it were thrown back to the end “ of the sentence.”—The answer to this is obvious.' Ist. There is a considerable number of cases, in which there are no such subsequent clauses, yet the arrangement is still the same. If it were indeed on account of these clauses that the participle is thrown to the beginning, how comes it to be still thrown to the beginning when no such reason exists ? 2dly. When such clauses do exist, connected with the noun by the relative pronoun, there is no necessity for the participle, on the supposition of its following the noun, following also the clauses which describe or qualify the noun, and being thrown to the end of the sentence. There is another arrangement, which produces neither obscurity nor inelegance. The participle may follow the noun, and yet precede the relative, and the clause or clauses connected with it. This may be illustrated by the following instance, in which the use of the substantive verb with the participle makes no difference as to the principle:-1 Kings Χ. 9. Γενοιτο Κυριος ο Θεος σου ευλογημενος, ός ήθελησεν εν σοι δουναι σε επι dgovou ’Iogando %. 7. n. which suits equally well the idiom of our own language: " Let THE LORD thy God be blessed, who “ delighted in thee to set thee on the throne of Israel,” &c.— In the circumstances, then, described by Mr. Yates, the participle may, in this manner, come after its noun, without being at all ss removed to too great a distance 56 from it.” These circumstances, therefore, cannot be the true reason for its being placed before it.
Such are the grounds which appear to Mr. Yates “to $6 have so much weight” as to render the passage “ scarcely 66 even ambiguous.” The reader must judge of them for himself. To me, they appear weak and flimsy in the extreme :-and in such a case as this, weakness on the one side of the argument is so much additional power on the other.
But Mr. Yates proceeds:-“ Further, where the opinions 6 of the writer are unknown, the best method of ascertain* ing the sense of a dubious expression is, to inquire how 6. it was understood by those persons to whom he directly 56 wrote. In the present case, we have unusual advantages «s for the determination of this question.” (P. 182.)— These 66 unusual advantages” consist of a quotation from the epistle of Clemens Romanus to the church at Corinth :-“ From “ them came all the priests and Levites, who minister 16 at the altar of God; from him (Jacob) as concerning the “flesh came the Lord Jesus (5 aúti ó Kugios ’Ingolls FO xatu dag66 xa); from him came kings, and rulers, and leaders, in “ the line of Judah."-A Unitarian must surely feel his resources to be very scanty, when, with all due formality, he introduces this quotation as “affording unusual advantages.”
I may be told that “ there are none so blind as those 66 who will not see.” I can't help it. I certainly do not see that there is any “clear allusion" in the words of Clement to the passage before us. It is a sentence which any person might have written, without having the most distant thought of the passage in his mind. And, even if the allusion were as clear as Mr. Yates thinks it, the inference from the allusion is merely presumptive; and the alternative of the presumption is, whether it was natural for a writer, in alluding to a particular sentence, to allude to it in whole or in part :-a question, as to which, (considering the endless variety of circumstances by which a writer's mind may at the moment be influenced) we are surely most incompetent judges.
Mr. Yates further refers to “ many of the most eminent “ Christian writers of the first four centuries."-I make no pretensions to intimacy with the fathers; nor do I feel any particular anxiety to cultivate it. A question which we cannot determine for ourselves from the Bible, will be but poorly determined by a reference to them. While Mr. Yates, following Wetstein, makes confident appeal to “ many of them, on one side of the question ; Dr. Whitby, on the other, asserts, “that the reading we follow is cer6 tainly the true reading,–because it has the general consent 6 omnium ferme patrum, of almost all the fathers, who have “ thus cited it from the second to the sixth century:"and then he enumerates his authorities. I leave it to those